Online Paganini Caprices Video eLearning Series – Review

Paganini Caprices, a devilish challenge for many violinists

The 24 Caprices for Solo Violin were written in groups (six, six and twelve) by Niccolò Paganini between 1802 and 1817. As we all know, they demand a lot of technique, velocity, accuracy and precision from the violinist. No wonder these Caprices are both loved and hated by the majority of the players! The series is a real challenge to master. Not only for students but also for professionals and teachers.  We had a look at the
online eLearning video series Paganini Caprices with Pavel Berman.

Pavel Berman, student of the legendary Isaac Stern and Dorothy Delay

Master Teacher Pavel Berman was a student himself of the legendary Isaac Stern and Dorothy Delay. He took up the challenge to record all 24 Caprices on video for iClassical Academy, and an exceptional series came out. A set of 24 high-level instructional lessons, completed with each performance.  We dare to say Pavel Berman succeeded to really "unlock the secrets" as he promises in the title of the course!

 "A Guideline to millions of violinists."

We all know this repertoire demands extremely high technical and coordination skills and the repertoire is ofter required when competing at violin competitions. We asked Pavel Berman why he created this Paganini Caprices series and why they are essential to master.

“My experience in teaching and performing Paganini brings me to the idea that, although every player has its features, there are many elements which are valid for us all. That’s why I recorded this series, which could be a guideline to millions of violinists. There are general rules and many details which are crucial to overcoming difficulties, and a list of suggestions about how to study and practice that could make the difference for the career of a performer, exactly as it was for me.”

Critical points of each Paganini caprice is discussed

Paganini is considered the father of the modern violin technique, which he enriched with crucial innovations. That’s why in any violin competition you will participate, at least one Caprice will be requested to be played. The profound analysis of techniques, fingering, bowing and phasing that Pavel Berman shows in this series allows to locate the critical points of each Caprice and to get acquainted with the perfect attitude to perform this legendary repertoire. Pavel Berman also provides how-to practice relevant passages like:

  • Why play the Caprice No. 5 with the original bow stroke in the spiccato part, which is the three ricochet in one note upbow, and why it is quite tricky for the intonation.
  • In Caprice No. 7, Pavel Berman explains the combination of different characters and different types of technique; how to play it legato and keep the bow flowing.
  • In Caprice  No. 15 it's useful to practice the octave just for the intonation, and how to play the more extended shift with the octaves without stopping the bow.
  • In Caprice No. 24, it is explained why not to play it too much like a march: How not to play with too much sound, because it says "piano" the second time, and how to practice slow, playing closer to the frog.

Slow-motion and multiple-camera  view, to enhance your eLearning experience

We find the Paganini Caprices Unlocked Series by iClassical Academy a true beauty among the online video series one can find (and it's an almost impossible task!).  So far, we have not discovered more precise video work online of Paganini Caprices. The 4K video recording is excellent, allowing the viewer the possibility to watch the lessons in slow-motion and multiple-camera view, to enhance the eLearning experience. It captures everything a violinist needs to know, learn and master about the Caprices. The performance that comes with each lesson helps to understand the best approach to play each Caprice at its best.

The instructions Master Teacher Pavel Berman provides are profound, practical and to the point. He never wastes time by telling boring stories or unnecessary details that are not concerning the Caprices.  If you're looking for a great tool to upgrade and Master your Paganini Caprices, we'd say you're at the right place!

Discover the Paganini Caprices Unlocked series!